Written by Danno for the Something Awful
Compiled and formatted in HTML by Technogeek, to whom I give my sincerest gratitude
I - II - III - IV
I: After Midnight
About a week and a half ago I found myself rudely awakened by the electronic pig-rape screech of my alarm clock from a delectable dream involving Gillian Anderson circa 1994. I turned from my pillow to stare at the clock’s display. Its blood-red luminescence spelled out the reason for the interruption: 3:00. Time for the overnight shift.
I rose, stretched, urinated, dressed, put on my shoes, grabbed my wallet and my keys, put on my coat, and headed out the door. A minute later I came back to change coats. It was sloppy outside, and I needed my waterproof three-season coat with detachable hood.
I went about my weekly ritual, getting in the truck, going to the office for my equipment, and so on. My rounds began unremarkably; if anything, there were fewer vehicles parked in the lots than I’d come to expect. I attributed this to the natural attrition of high school and long-distance relationships over the course of the year. As I rounded the corner next to the heating plant, I was on track to finish in record time.
Alas, ‘twas not to be.
Passing the steaming block of the heating plant, I saw Lot 25, the biggest lot on campus devoted exclusively to faculty and staff. The faculty complained about it incessantly, because it’s right next to the biggest classroom building complex on campus, and the lot proves irresistible to students pressed for time. But it wasn’t close to any of the dorms, so we rarely had problems with people parking overnight.
This night was different. There must have been at least fifteen cars scattered around the south half of the lot. Not only were they parked sporadically; some had pulled through and were backwards, nose-to-aisle. My heart sank. This was going to take almost half an hour.
After I got over my initial disappointment, I figured that something must have been going on. There was no reason I could think of why there would be that many cars in that lot at that late hour. We’d gotten no notice of any faculty or student events requiring people to be in the adjacent buildings. Nor, I found after checking, was the university police aware of anything going on.
Despite the fact that there were clearly doin’s a-transpirin’, I went about my duties. I ticketed half of the vehicles present without incident, and I was just about to start the front row of cars when a Ford Escort with a need for some exhaust work pulled into the lot. Out came three students, a container of what I assumed to be coffee, a box of what appeared to be pastries most fresh and delicious, and a bag of something or other. No sooner had the car been unloaded than two more students popped out the door. It was one of these two that noticed the white truck with red plates sitting thirty yards away.
A brief discussion ensued, complete with glances and gestures in my direction, which resulted in one of the troop dispatched to consult with me while the others delivered their provisions inside. Their envoy proceeded to walk toward me, and during the twenty or thirty seconds it took her to reach the truck, I performed a brief visual inspection by the light of the street-lamps. She was cute, more cute than pretty, about five-foot-and-a-half, blonde, maybe a size eight, B-cup at most, dressed in a hoodie and pajama pants, probably a sophomore. I decided I didn’t need to lock the door or have my beefy flashlight handy, and I lowered the truck’s window.
“Excuse me,” she said as she arrived, “I’m really sorry, but we’re here working on something for NSAC. We have a competition in Green Bay on Saturday.”
“NSAC?” I wondered aloud.
“It’s a public-relations, advertising sort of club, through the journalism department,” she answered.
“Ah, I see.” I cleared my throat.
“We have building passes.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a blue card. “Here.”
I examined her pass. It was valid for one Kimberly Hudson to be present in the social sciences building after hours, signed by the journalism department chair.
“Your pass looks all right, Kimberly,” I said as I handed it back to her. “But I haven’t gotten anything on anyone cleared to park here tonight.”
“What’s your name?” she asked me.
“Uh, Dan,” I stammered.
She placed her hand on my arm and lightly squeezed. “Listen, Dan, I know we should have called, but we’ve been working really hard all night.” She smiled sweetly. “Is there any way I can convince you to let us stay?”
“Well, I, uh, I mean, um—”
She leaned into the window and kissed me. It was, needless to say, somewhat surprising, but I quickly adapted. As I began to kiss her back, she turned her head a little, placed her hand around the back of my neck, and dialed it up a notch.
After a little more kissing, she stepped onto the running board and leaned into the truck, boosting herself up by the windowsill. I turned to the side, put my arms around her, and leaned back a bit; seizing the opportunity, she pushed forward, and before I knew what was going on I was on my back with this writhing female form atop me, her lips pressed against mine.
It was at this point I noticed that her hoodie and pajama pants were the limit of her wardrobe. My left hand started to explore a bit, as it tends to do in these situations, and I found the small of her back. Her attentions shifted from my lips to my cheek, my eyebrow, my temple, and finally my ear. Good Lord, she knew exactly what to do.
As my eyes rolled back I heard her voice in my ear. “So? Can we stay here?”
I mumbled some response. “Huh?” I felt a sharp pain on my left arm. Startled, my head jerked to the side.
“Can we stay here?” I was looking out the window at Kimberly. She was standing next to the truck, as she had been, and I was seating in the driver’s seat, as I had been.
“Oh, sure, yeah, um, no problem,” I said, somewhat confused.
“Are you all right? You looked like you spaced out a little right there,” she asked me.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. I’m just a little tired.” I smiled a little. “It’s tough getting up in the middle of the night to do this.”
“I know how you feel. Thanks.” With that, she let go of my arm, turned and headed back to the building.
As she got a few steps away, I found my brain. Leaning out the window, I called after her. “Hey, Kimberly!”
She stopped and turned back. “Yeah?”
“Make sure you guys are out of here by six. That’s when the lot opens back up, and we need to have you cleared out for the faculty.”
“Six. Got it. Thanks.”
I sat there a minute, motionless, trying to clear my head. As I hopped out of the truck to collect the tickets I’d already given out, I swore to myself that I would never, ever sleep before my overnight shift again.
I finished my rounds, returned the truck, went back to my room, undressed, and got back into in bed. Ms. Anderson was waiting for me.
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II: Let He Who Is Without Sin...
Sunday morning. Seven-thirty. Any decent person would still be in bed. Any happy person would still be in bed next to a nubile young lady, a casual acquaintance from one’s favorite Saturday night bar, with a spent condom or three flung in the corner.
Me? I was out writing parking tickets.
Weekends are usually pretty laid-back for us. Our main task is to ensure that the kiddies aren’t taking advantage of our apparent lack of weekend patrols to invent their own parking spaces. The good thing about working a weekend is that you only have to work an hour each day on Saturday and Sunday. The bad thing is that you have to be finished by nine o’clock. Don’t ask me why; I’m not the boss, and I don’t make these sorts of decisions.
Having fobbed off the previous three weekends upon my comrades, it was my turn. It was an unseasonably warm morning for March, a total cock-tease betraying nothing of the cold snow that was to plague April.
The first violator that caught my attention that morning was a gray Jeep Cherokee, windows tinted raven-black, with its hazard lights flashing their “please, sir, don’t ticket me” flash. The problem with Joey Jo-Jo Junior Cherokee was that he was parked in a handicapped space.
“Penis-licker,” I said aloud to the deejay, who was playing a set called Sunday Morning Jazz, in which WAPL (the Rockin’ Apple) strays from their usual classic-rock-and-Nickelback format and plays the best of Local on the Eights. Since the Jeep’s windows were so dark, I knew I was going to have to spend twice as long looking to see if he might theoretically have his handicapped permit wedged between the back seats, because Lord knows it’s my job to spend half an hour peering inside some fucker’s car all suspicious-like when he’s too lazy to hang his handicapped permit up like a normal cripple. Not to mention the extra time spent taking enough photos to put together an issue of National Geographic so the Appeals Committee knows that he did not, in fact, have a handicapped tag displayed.
After all of that, I had to use my Mag-Lite™ to read his permit number through the back window. This guy was a real Emmy™ Award-winner, and I took some consolation from the fact that I was slapping him with a hundred-dollar fine. I finished his ticket and, summoning the spirit of Damon Wayans, I placed it on his windshield with a cry of, “Never underestimate the power of the handicapped!”
I had a few other tickets to write in that lot, and while I was finishing the last I noticed some kid coming out of the dorm. He was dressed very nicely, in a suit and tie. As he walked across the lot, I soon realized that it was my friend Joey Jo-Jo. I hurried to finish my ticket and move on, because, in my experience, the irateness of the violator increases proportional to the amount of the fine.
Alas, he saw me before I could get away. “Ass-licking ball-slapper,” I swore under my breath. I was swearing like a Mexican sailor that morning. I would have to be careful, lest I do something unprofessional around this perp.
“Excuse me,” he said as he approached. Holding up the ticket, he asked me, “Would you mind explaining this?”
“It’s a ticket for being parked in a handicapped space without a permit,” I said, as authoritatively as I could at seven-thirty on a Sunday morning.
“I know that, I’m just wondering why you gave it to me. I have my flashers on.”
“Sir, your hazard lights are not an unlimited free parking permit. You still have to have a handicapped permit to park there, even if you’re sitting in the car with the engine running and every one of your lights on.” Watch it, Dan, I thought, you’re starting to get clever.
“Look, I’m on my way to church, and I just parked there to go upstairs and put on my suit.”
Sweet Jesus, I almost said aloud. “Wait a minute, let me see if I have this right. You’re on your way to church?”
“And you just parked your Jeep for a minute?”
“In a handicapped space?”
“You parked in a handicapped space on your way to church. You’re going to church and you parked in a handicapped person’s parking spot.”
He was starting to look annoyed. “That’s what I just said.”
“I’m sorry.” I stifled a laugh. “I just tend to think that the sort of person that goes to college and bothers to dress up and go to church this early on a Sunday morning wouldn’t park in a handicapped space.”
Having his blatant hypocrisy pointed out by a lowly parking attendant was not the sort of thing to place my Jeep-driving church-going compatriot in a good mood. “Are you going to take this back or not?” he testily demanded.
“Hell, no.” I paused a second. “You’re not Catholic, are you?”
“Because I think you could probably use a good Confession and a bunch of Hail Marys. Now, I’m going to ask you to move your vehicle before I have it towed.”
Flustered, he turned, got into his Jeep and left. The rest of the morning proceeded as usual, and I was back in bed by quarter to nine, my soul safe and secure.
He still hasn’t paid the fine.
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III: Property of a Lady
It was a sunny April afternoon, and I found myself patrolling campus with George, the New Guy. George is middle-aged, a native of these parts, and an inexhaustible fount of knowledge about all things local. He spent quite a bit of time regaling me with the details of his latest acquisition, a rusting Civil War cannonball obtained at a local auction.
We finished one of the resident lots and turned back onto the street to move to the next one. George was animatedly telling me about the asshole who kept trying to outbid him on the cannonball and drove the price up above seventeen dollars. I did my best to pay attention without actually doing so.
Desperate for something else to fix my senses upon, I noticed something amiss up ahead, on the left. In the entrance to lot nineteen, another resident lot, was parked a small red car.
Lot nineteen is a small resident lot wedged in between two dorms. The entrance is barely as wide as a two-car driveway, with a telephone pole on one side and a sign on the other. As you pull in the driveway, there is the back wall of one of the dorms and some dumpsters on the right, and the elaborate, jerry-rigged wheelchair ramp for the other one on the left. After thirty or forty feet, the driveway curves sharply to the right, in front of a raised concrete steam grate. The steam grate is about three feet high and somewhat mushroom-shaped, with a six-foot round concrete cap surmounting a base of brick and cinder blocks.
The red car, which I quickly discovered was a Lumina, was parked right smack-dab in the middle of the entrance. The entrance is narrow, visibility is poor coming out of the lot, and traffic on the street adjoining tends to be heavy and a bit reckless. All in all, the Lumina was creating an unsafe situation. I would quickly learn just how unsafe it was.
I couldn’t just let it slide. If he was off to one side, maybe, but he was in the middle, blocking in everyone inside the lot and keeping everyone else out.
I had a choice. I could park on the street, but it was marked “no parking,” and for good reason. The street wasn’t terribly wide, especially for a two-way through street. The entrance was between a dangerous corner and a dangerous curve, either of which people tended to fly around.
I decided to do the safe thing, and pull in as best I could. I came into the driveway wide, straddling the edge, with the left wheels on the pavement and the right on the grass in front of the sign. I pulled alongside the Lumina, wedged in between it and the dumpsters. Behind it, waiting to get out, was a black Geo. I assume that the driver of the Geo had become quite exasperated, blocked in by the Lumina. Now here I was, in my big white pickup truck, pulling around the offending vehicle as if to charge into the lot.
The driver of the Geo decided that she needed to back out of the way. She shifted her car into reverse and hit the gas.
The next thing I heard was a loud “POP!” The girl in the Geo, you see, had forgotten to turn her steering wheel, and backed straight up—right into the steam grate.
“Oh, shit!” shouted George and I together.
I immediately grabbed my radio and smashed the talk button. “Parking to University Police dispatch,” I said hurriedly.
There was a brief pause and a crackle. “Dispatch; go ahead, Parking,” I heard in a tinny, male voice.
The door of the Geo opened.
I continued with the dispatcher. “Yeah, I’m over here in nineteen…”
The Geo’s driver stepped out.
“…and I need an officer to—fuck!”
I saw the face of the driver. It was my girlfriend’s roommate, Jenny.
“Excuse me?” asked the dispatcher.
It took me a second to compose myself. “Uh, sorry, I got, uh, a little bit distracted. I need an officer to come over here; there’s been an accident.”
I just sat there. After a little while, George asked me, “Are you OK?”
“Well,” I replied, “that girl there is my girlfriend’s roommate.”
“Uh-oh!” he exclaimed. He said ‘uh-oh’ a lot, usually meant as some kind of witty retort, but always coming off as Raymond Babbitt.
There was another pause, and then George decided he’d be the one to go and talk to her. This was fine with me. As he went out to her, two guys came out, put some clothes into the trunk of the Lumina, and got it started up. I bolted out of the front seat, and got up to the driver’s side window before they had a chance to pull out.
I gave the Lumina a ticket for being parked in the driveway. The police officer, a very nice short lady, showed up after a couple of minutes, and after talking to all of us decided that the accident was Jenny’s fault, since I hadn’t hit her with the truck. Jenny’s passenger, the guys in the Lumina, George and I were recorded as witnesses and released from the scene.
In the end, the guys were out fifteen bucks, while Jenny had her brother the mechanic fix the bumper for three hundred less than the body shop estimated.
My girlfriend and I, from that day on, spent our time together at my place. This, however, proved to be a blessing in disguise, as I doubt I would have stolen third base when I did had we continued hanging out in her room. I guess it proves the axiom true: When God closes a door, He opens a window overlooking a nudist colony full of big-titted lesbians.
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IV: Professor PMSIt was good to be back at school. I had spent the summer working at this shitty telemarketing company in Appleton, where much time was spent trying to convince us there was somehow a difference between "tele-sales," what we were doing, and regular slimebucket telemarketing, because at least we were calling businesses. You know, like how that skank you and your buddy double-teamed that one time wasn't actually a prostitute, because you paid at the door.
But I digress. My fifth and final year of college dawned, and I found myself back at my old job, with a thirty-five cent raise and five more hours a week. Woo-fucking-hoo. And we had no time to lose, because the faculty had been bitching up a storm all summer about how they didn't want no goddamn students parking in THEIR PERSONAL PARKING LOT. They bitched at the Vice Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor bitched at my boss's boss, he bitched at my boss, and I got stuck making three patrols a day in the "good" faculty lot.
Needless to say, my heart hasn't really been in policing the faculty lot. But I don't get paid to annoy the faculty, so I plug away, trudging up and down the rows of Toyotas and Saabs, listening to professors tell me how to do my job, saying 'listen, choad-monkey, I don't tell you how to write your grant proposal on the sexual habits of female undergraduates' in my head while I just smile and nod.
Faculty aren't the only ones bitching about parking, though. This year has started off extra-bad, because there is some super-convenient parking that is being blocked by construction debris. The university administration, sensing an opportunity to get us to lavish even more money on campus improvement, wants to build two new parking ramps over the next few years, and to gain support for the scheme they're holding a bunch of "listening sessions" or "town meetings" or whatever you call this sort of Bill Clinton tomfoolery.
The first such meeting was held for the faculty. As I was working at the time, my boss decided I might as well come along for the show. Present were myself, my boss, my boss's boss, his boss, and forty or fifty faculty in various states of disgruntlement.
The ramp plan was pitched, and the floor was opened for comments. After the first two professors commented on 'how they liked the plan in principle, but the funding mechanism needs work,' a woman from the education department stepped up to the microphone.
"My name is Judy Hartsfield, and I teach secondary education," she said. Then a scowl came over her face. "Building parking ramps over the next ten years is all fine and dandy, but it doesn't solve the problem we have now. There are too many students parking in our lot! Every morning I come to work, and it can take me ten minutes to find someplace to park--and when I do, it's in the lot behind the heating plant, and it's three times as far from my office!"
Her rant was building steam. "It makes me mad to see so many students parking in the faculty lot, because my time is just so much more valuable than theirs! If a student is five or ten minutes late to class, that's one thing--but if I'm five or ten minutes late, it's a real problem! You really need to put up gates in our lot, now!"
Her face was a little flushed as she sat down. There was scattered applause from the faculty. I looked over at my boss, and he was more flushed than she was. I could tell he was getting riled up.
The meeting degenerated into a faculty bitch session, with professor after professor complaining how this student or that parent had inconvenienced them at one time or another. (Funny, but I never heard a thing about how the janitors and techies and food servers needed to park real close to their places of employment.) After a half hour or so, the Vice Chancellor took back control, and he gave the head of Parking Services a chance to tell them how he was glad to hear their concerns, was going to take their suggestions under advisement, and so on.
There was a pause. I couldn't resist the opportunity. I raised my hand. "Joe?"
He turned to me. "Yes, Dan--do you have something to add?"
"Well," I said, slowly, as if about to make a highly profound observation. "It seems to me that, if there is a problem being caused by students rushing to class, perhaps they feel they are under a great deal of stress to get to class on time all the time. If that is the case, then, I would think it would be much simpler if, instead of us installing gates, professors just stopped having mandatory attendance."
Oh, the glares I got! Joe had to make a show of chastising me, but after the meeting, he shook my hand. "Let me know where you're applying after graduation," he told me. "I'll make sure you get three letters of recommendation."
The next day, I was patrolling in the student lot. I got halfway down the first row when I saw a red Volvo with a gold parking sticker. Faculty in the student lot. After the previous day's events, I was a little bit angry. I punched the permit number into my computer, and the permitholder's information scrolled up: "Permit No. 5362. Name: Judy Hartsfield."
I smiled a big smile as I wrote the ticket. Anyone who saw the joy with which I issued it would have been excused for thinking me an asshole.
Because, just for a minute, I really was.
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